The Administration for Children and Families presents NRCEC 2020, National Research Conference on Early Childhood. June 22 - 24, 2020 at Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA.
June 22 - 24, 2020
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Crystal Gateway Marriott
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Arlington, VA
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CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS

The Call for Presentations is now closed. Submissions are currently under review, and decision notification will be sent in February/March 2020. Only the identified symposium organizer or the contact author of each individual poster will recieve the decision notification. They are responsible for informing other participants and authors.

The NRCEC 2020 Planning Committee invited posters, paper symposium, and poster symposium proposals for the Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) National Research Conference on Early Childhood (NRCEC 2020). Presentations may discuss recent research (published or unpublished) or synthesize findings already published in the literature.

Call For Presentations

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Conference Goals

The goals of NRCEC 2020 are to:

  • identify and disseminate research relevant to young children (birth to 8 years) and their families, and;
  • encourage collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to build the evidence base for policy and practice.

ACF programs support the social and economic well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities. This includes investments in early childhood programs that promote economic security, health and safety, and positive developmental trajectories for vulnerable young children and their families. Federal, state, and local governments make substantial investments to deliver high quality programs to young children and their families, and there is a robust and growing body of research to inform those investments. However, many questions remain about how government programs can most effectively and efficiently support the well-being of young children and their families.

Research presented at NRCEC 2020 will address these knowledge gaps across programs serving young children and their families. NRCEC 2020 will present the latest research surrounding Head Start, Early Head Start, child care, home visiting, child welfare, special education, pre-kindergarten, early elementary, and other early childhood programs.

The conference welcomes submissions from all relevant fields including education, child development, public policy, political science, psychology, sociology, public and allied health, pediatrics, psychiatry, nursing, social work, dentistry, anthropology, law, and economics.

Populations of interest include low-income families with children birth through age 8, as well as understudied populations that may require specialized services, including but not limited to dual language learners, children affected by trauma or homelessness, children from immigrant/migrant families, children in foster care, and children with disabilities.

Attendees at the conference are expected to include academic and professional researchers, early childhood program administrators and practitioners, and federal, state, and local policymakers.

Research topics of particular interest for NRCEC 2020 include but are not limited to:

  • coordination and collaboration across early childhood programs and between early childhood programs and K-12 education;
  • research partnerships with states and frontline early childhood service providers;
  • measurement of early childhood program quality, caregiver-child interactions, and child outcomes;
  • supports for families with substance use disorders;
  • early childhood program leadership and functioning;
  • approaches to engage and meet the needs of working families;
  • supporting the recruitment, training, and retention of a qualified early childhood workforce;
  • infant and toddler quality improvement efforts;
  • implementation of federal, state, and local early childhood initiatives;
  • costs associated with high quality service delivery; and
  • innovative approaches to better understand and improve outcomes for children birth through age 8 and their families, particularly for low-income and diverse populations.

Rules of Participation


  • Persons whose presentations are accepted must participate at the time scheduled by the NRCEC 2020 Planning Committee. Any special scheduling requests must be made at the time of acceptance and will be accommodated to the extent feasible.
  • Upon request by the conference organizers, symposia and poster presenters must submit electronic copies of their presentation materials to facilitate post-conference website development. Submitted copies may be made available electronically for general access.
  • Symposia presenters will be supplied with one LCD projector/screen and a laptop computer during their session. Each poster presenter will be supplied with a poster board, chair, and a sign indicating only the poster number. All other audiovisual needs must be requested at the time of acceptance and may be met at the presenter’s expense.
  • The conference does NOT pay the expenses of presenters accepted through this call. All presenters accepted from the call who will be attending the conference (including chairpersons, discussants, and coauthors) must register. Symposium organizers and poster contact authors accepted through the call are responsible for ensuring that all participants in their events are registered. There is no registration fee.
  • Those with submissions accepted through the call are not precluded from publishing their material elsewhere.

Submission Formats

Individual Posters:

Posters are single visually presented papers (with coauthors, where applicable) involving research or program evaluation on a specific topic. The poster format is especially conducive to discussion among conference participants; presenters are required to attend their poster presentation. Posters will be in two-hour time slots, with no other concurrent sessions. Posters will be grouped by content area to foster networking among the presenters and audience. Presenters involved in multiple posters must be prepared to present their work in multiple locations of the exhibit area. All poster topics must link to early childhood policy, practice, or research.

Paper Symposia:

Paper symposia are presentations of 2 to 3 papers with one discussant. Prospective presenters should prepare a session that employs a lively and varied format as well as audiovisuals and other materials to enhance learning. Paper symposia address major research questions of a theoretical, empirical, programmatic, and/or policy nature relevant to the conference with detailed implications for practice and policy substantially emphasized. Paper symposia will be scheduled for 1 hour and 45 minutes during one of six timeslots. Each symposium includes an organizer (who submits the application), a chairperson (who facilitates the symposium), presenters of two or three papers, and a discussant. The organizer, discussant, or a presenter may also serve as chair of the session. The discussant offers integrating commentary and critical analysis, questions for discussion, and/or leads audience participation. Discussants should not be involved directly in the presented projects as researchers or academic partners in the research. Paper symposia must involve presenters from two or more projects, universities, institutions, or organizations who represent different perspectives or different aspects of an issue. Proposals that do not conform to this requirement might not be sent for peer review. Sessions are considered particularly strong if they include practitioner or policymaker perspectives as presenters or discussants. Paper symposia that foster discussion among persons of diverse interests, culture, perspectives, disciplinary affiliations, and backgrounds are strongly encouraged. All symposia must establish clear links to early childhood policy, practice or research.

Poster Symposia:

Poster Symposia include a display of 4 to 7 posters, a discussant, and an opportunity for participants to discuss the posters with the researchers. Poster symposia are 1 hour and 45 minutes in length. Poster symposia may be organized in a variety of ways. Presenters and discussants should not all be from the same project or organization. Proposals that do not conform to this requirement might not be sent for peer review. Collaboration should ensure that all submitted poster descriptions are of the same quality. Sessions are considered particularly strong if they include practitioner or policymaker perspectives as poster presenters or discussants. Poster symposia that foster discussion among persons of diverse interests, culture, perspectives, disciplinary affiliations, and backgrounds are strongly encouraged. All symposia must establish clear links to early childhood policy, practice or research.

Selection Process and Criteria


  • Submissions in acceptable formats and completed by November 22, 2019 will be evaluated.
  • The NRCEC 2020 Planning Committee will determine the submission’s appropriateness for peer review. Papers and posters that are part of strong symposia must represent different perspectives or different aspects of an issue. Each symposia must include presenters affiliated with at least two different projects, universities, institutions, or organizations.
  • The NRCEC 2020 Planning Committee reserves the right to recommend final selections to ensure a balanced program. Note that if a presenter submits for more than two sessions, it may not be possible to accommodate the schedule to allow them to participate in all their sessions.
  • Priority will be given to submissions including research samples from diverse cultures and low-income populations, if available.

Evaluation criteria for peer review of all submissions (equally weighted):

  • a) Appropriateness of subject matter to the goals of the conference as articulated in the Call for Presentations.
  • b) Strong demonstration of how the presentation furthers knowledge in the field. If original research, the extent to which the presentation represents a new or significant contribution to the early childhood field (e.g., filling gaps in research, exploring new methods or frameworks, identifying new factors, or advancing understanding of program and policy evaluation). If a review or synthesis, it is clear that drawing together the evidence on a topic will inform or clarify an area of research, policy or practice.
  • c) Professional quality of the research work: soundness of research design, methodology, and data analysis, where appropriate. For reviews or synthesis submissions, clearly articulated inclusion and review criteria; where possible, use of approaches such as meta-analysis.
  • d) Clearly articulated applied implications for early childhood programs and policies including but not limited to Head Start and Early Head Start, child care, special education, child welfare, home visiting, pre-k, and/or other early childhood relevant programs and services. Degree to which the work is strongly linked to evaluating and/or informing practice and policy of importance to early childhood and care settings and outcomes.
  • e) Professional quality of the writing, including clearly stated project objectives and an organized presentation of the research plan and results. If results are not ready at the time of submission, the author provides a clear statement of the hypotheses/research questions, variables under study, methodology, and proposed data analytic strategy. Results and discussion sections must be included in the presentation at the conference.

Additional evaluation criteria for peer review of paper and poster symposia:

  • f) Presentation of varied points of view or perspectives that will contribute to a dynamic presentation. This could include such factors as branching theoretical approaches, contrasting methodologies, presenters from multiple projects/organizations, or diverse interpretations.
  • g) The potential of the combination of presentations to produce more information or insight than would be derived from the presentations separately (e.g., new connections, new directions, and new implications for researchers and/or practitioners).
  • h) Inclusion of practitioner or policymaker perspectives as presenters or discussants.
  • i) Inclusion of diverse cultural perspectives, where applicable.

Submission Requirements

To ensure a blind review, no presenter or author names, agencies, organizations, or other identifying information should appear anywhere in the submission. Submissions involving a particular early care or education program may not name the program, location, staff members, or affiliate organizations. Submissions that do not conform to these standards may not be reviewed.

For all submissions (paper and poster symposium and individual poster), you will need to prepare:

  • Type of submission (poster, paper symposium, or poster symposium).
  • Title (limited to 250 characters).
  • Submission identifiers (see end of this document for more information).
  • Complete contact information for submission organizer (full name, academic degree, title, organization, phone number, and email address).
  • Select information for session chairperson, discussant, and all authors (full name, academic degree, organization, and email address).

For symposium submissions (both paper and poster), you also will need to prepare:

  • An abstract of the submission. (Up to 75 words; may be copied/pasted into the system.) The abstract should provide a clear and concise description of the symposium. If the submission is selected for inclusion in the conference, the abstract will be published in conference materials.
  • An integrative statement. (Up to 500 words; may be copied/pasted into the system.) The integrative statement should articulate the links between the papers/posters, the benefit of combining these works, important themes, and details regarding the implications for policy, practice, and research.
  • An overview of each paper/poster included in the submission. (Up to 500 words; may be copied/pasted into the system.) Up to two tables or figures may be included, as appropriate, but must be uploaded as attachments to your submission. Additionally, key references for the overview must be included but do not count toward the word limit and will be collected in a separate field once the overview and any table/figure attachments have been saved.

For individual poster submissions, you also will need to prepare:

  • An abstract of the poster. (Up to 75 words; may be copied/pasted into the system.) The abstract should provide a clear and concise description of the poster. If the submission is selected for inclusion in the conference, the abstract will be published in conference materials.
  • An overview of the poster. (Up to 500 words; may be copied/pasted into the system.) Up to two tables or figures may be included, as appropriate, but must be uploaded as attachments to your submission. Additionally, key references for the overview must be included but do not count toward the word limit and will be collected in a separate field once the overview and any table/figure attachments have been saved.

If these items are prepared prior to beginning your submission, be aware that an average individual poster submission takes approximately 15 minutes to input online; symposia of both kinds take approximately 20–30 minutes.

Decision Notification

Decision notification will be sent in February/March 2020. Only the identified symposium organizer or the contact author of each individual poster will receive the decision notification. They are responsible for informing other participants and authors.

Submission Identifiers

[CHOOSE 1 PRIMARY IDENTIFIER, AND UP TO 2 ADDITIONAL IDENTIFIERS]

  • Assessment/Measurement
  • Cognitive Development/Executive Functioning
  • Comprehensive Service Delivery
  • Culture/Culturally Responsive Practice/Equity
  • Developmental Delays/Special Needs/Early Intervention
  • Dual Language/Literacy skills
  • Early Care and Education Monitoring/Licensing
  • Early Care and Education Quality/Effectiveness
  • Family Engagement
  • Family Well-being and Self-sufficiency
  • Health
  • Home Visiting
  • Language/Literacy Skills
  • Math/Science/Engineering Skills
  • Mental Health
  • Neuroscience/Brain Development
  • Parenting/Parent-child Relationship
  • Partnerships/Community Collaborations
  • Policy (Federal, State, Local, Program)
  • Prevention/Intervention
  • Program Improvement Effort/Implementation
  • Research Methods
  • School Readiness/Kindergarten Entry/Transitions to Kindergarten
  • Special Populations: Child Welfare Involved
  • Special Populations: Children with Special Needs/Developmental Delays
  • Special Populations: Children/Caregivers from Countries other than U.S.A.
  • Special Populations: Dual Language Learners/English Language Learners
  • Special Populations: Early Elementary (5 to 8-year-olds)
  • Special Populations: Homeless
  • Special Populations: Immigrants
  • Special Populations: Infants/Toddlers (Birth to 3-year-olds)
  • Special Populations: Low-income
  • Special Populations: Preschool-aged (3 to 5-year-olds
  • Special Populations: Tribal/American Indian and Alaska Native
  • Social-emotional Skills/Challenging Behaviors
  • Substance Use or Misuse
  • Systems Integration and Coordination
  • Workforce Development
  • Workforce Well-being and Self-sufficiency
  • Other (Describe)